Magazine article Strings

An Anthology of British Viola Players, John White, Ed

Magazine article Strings

An Anthology of British Viola Players, John White, Ed

Article excerpt

An Anthology of British Viola Players, John White, ed. (Comus Edition).

This is the most viola-centric book to appear in several years, and quite probably the most important and extensive collection of biographical descriptions on violists ever assembled under one cover. White's account of 141 British musicians who shared the viola as a common interest, with references to dozens more, is as much or more the result of a scrapbook begun by the editor in his youth as it is a carefully researched and documented academic work. It is a compliment to White that he, as a very young man, saw fit to devote as much energy to developing that scrapbook on the musicians of his day as to compiling his similar documents about rugby and cricket heroes.

The editor is careful to document the richness of the British viola legacy by including a cross-section of amateurs and professional viola players. These range from Henry Hill, who gave the first London performance of Berlioz' Harold in Italy in 1848, to talented newcomers just beginning to enjoy the salad days of their careers. And one of the many charms of this book is a rather broad definition of what constitutes a "British" violist: broad enough to include such distinguished but non-English names as Csaba Er&lvi ia Hungarian), Walter Gerhardt @Austrian), RLsen Goines (Turkish), Yuko Inoue (Japancse, Luciano lorio (Italian)-and we are only through the I's. The book is cross-referenced extensively. One surprise, however, is that White's scrapbook approach does not allot space according to a violist's prominence. …

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